It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans are plagued with some form of a chronic sleep or wake disorder. Research during the past 20 years has contributed greatly to our understanding of sleep disorders. It is now an accepted medical fact that snoring or daytime sleepiness may indicate a severe medical disorder.
Today most sleep disorders can be effectively treated. As part of the Sleep Laboratory at Gila Regional, the first step is an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes all that is needed is a discussion session with your physician.
In other cases, it is necessary to monitor a patient for one or more nights in order to discover the cause of the disorder. The patient stays overnight in a private room at Gila Regional. Sleep patterns, breathing, heart activity and body movements are monitored throughout the night by a sleep technologist.
Upon completion, our Medical Director recommends treatment procedures, many of which can be carried out by the patient's own referring physician. Some problems respond to simple relaxation techniques, while others require the use of a breathing device, drug therapy or minor surgery.
An EEG can assist in the diagnosis of a variety of neurological problems, from common headaches and dizziness to seizure disorders, strokes and degenerative brain disease. It is also used to look for organic causes of psychiatric symptoms and disabilities in children, and to help physicians in determining irreversible brain damage.
Evoked potentials are helpful in evaluating a number of different neurological problems, including spinal cord injuries, acoustic tumors or complications with the optic nerve. The most common types of EPs are:
- Auditory - evaluates the auditory nerve pathways from the ears through the brain
- Visual - evaluates the visual nervous system from the eyes to the visual cortex of the brain
- Somatosensory - assesses pathways from nerves in the arms or legs, through the spinal cord, to the brainstem or cerebral cortex.
During sleep, a PSG, or recording, uses EEG and other physiologic measures to evaluate sleep disorders. The test is used to help evaluate patients who experience excessive sleepiness during the day or who have trouble falling asleep at night. Some common sleep disorders that can be diagnosed are:
Sleep Apnea - This is a disorder in which the breathing cycle becomes irregular while sleeping. In some cases, breathing can stop completely. This can have potentially dangerous consequences, as there may be a decreased supply of oxygen to the heart and brain.
A major symptom of sleep apnea may include loud snoring followed by a period of interrupted breathing. During the day, a person suffering from this disorder may feel excessive daytime sleepiness or impaired alertness and mental capacity.
Adults are not the only ones who can be affected by this sleep disorder. Often children misdiagnosed with ADD show improvements in behavioral and emotional problems after being treated for Sleep Apnea. Through testing, GRMC's Sleep Lab can diagnose sleep apnea and possible treatments can be administered.
Insomnia - If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, or you find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night you may have insomnia. Everyone experiences brief periods of insomnia, but if the problem is chronic it should be evaluated.
There are numerous possible causes for chronic insomnia. Poor sleep habits, excessive use of alcohol or certain medications, or conditions such as depression can all lead to the inability to sleep. The Sleep Lab can help determine the underlying cause and recommend a course of treatment for insomnia.
Narcolepsy - Some people, no matter how much they sleep, experience a continual irresistible need to sleep. These people may suffer from Narcolepsy and can fall asleep anytime while working, talking or even driving. They may also experience a periodic loss of muscle tone and sleep paralysis (the inability to move or talk upon waking).
There is no cure for Narcolepsy, but symptoms can be controlled with behavioral and medical therapy. Basic lifestyle adjustments such as keeping a good sleep schedule, improving diet and exercise, and avoiding stressful situations may also help reduce symptoms. Testing for Narcolepsy can be done at GRMC's Sleep Lab and individuals with the disorder can expect to enjoy near-normal lifestyles with proper treatment.
This diagnostic tool is used for evaluating the central nervous system. As people age it is normal for the central nervous system to slow, however if you are suffering from such symptoms as dementia, memory impairment or the inability to understand and reason, the P-300 can help evaluate for cognitive diseases. The test can also be used to assess other disorders that impact cognitive capability such as alcoholism, depression and schizophrenia.
If you believe that any of these services at Gila Regional Medical Center might be helpful for you or a loved one, talk to your physician about a referral.
Gila Regional Sleep Lab -- (575) 538-4061 | 1313 E. 32nd Street, Silver City, NM 88061
Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans cover costs of care. We accept all patients regardless of ability to pay.
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